A widely held vision of nineteenth-century American women is of
lives lived in naive, domestic peace--the girls of "Little Women"
making do until father comes home from the war. Nothing could be
less true of Harriet Prescott Spofford's stories. In fact, her
editor at the "Atlantic Monthly" at first refused to believe that
an unworldly woman from New England had written them. Her style,
though ornate by our 20th century standards, adds to its
atmosphere, like heavy, Baroque furniture in a large and creepy
The title story presents a self-centered and captivating woman who
ruthlessly steals her orphan cousin's lover. In "Circumstance," a
pioneer woman returning home through the woods at night is caught
by a panther; her husband, who has come to save her, can only watch
from the ground as she sings for her life, pinned in a tree. A
train engineer hallucinates again and again that he is running over
his wife. And Mrs. Craven, who's a bit "weak" in the head,
mindlessly repeats "Three men went down cellar and only two came
up." These stories combine elements of the best ghost
stories--timing, detail, and character --with just enough chill to
make you think twice about turning out your lights at night.
Rutgers University Press
|Country of origin:
||American Women Writers S.
Harriet Elizabeth Prescott Spofford
||216 x 140 x 15mm (L x W x T)
||Paperback - Trade
General & literary fiction >
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